U-ha-zy Uhazy

Birth
Death 29 Dec 1854
Saint Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, USA
Burial Unknown, Specifically: Disposition of body is unknown
Memorial ID 105731698 · View Source
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A Dakota Indian who was accused of killing a German white woman named Mrs. Keener near Shakopee, Minn., on Oct. 27, 1852. He was convicted of the crime and sentenced to death by hanging. According to a newspaper account, the public hanging took place on the prairie to the south of the St. Anthony road, near the Catholic cemetery, just beyond Selby's farm, at 3 p.m.

According to author Michael Anderson, the death penalty in Minnesota originated when Minnesota became a territory in 1849 and Congress declared that anyone convicted of pre-meditated murder would automatically receive the death penalty and solitary confinement. Uhazy was the first man to be given the death penalty in Minnesota. During the time he was confined in isolation, his supporters filed appeals on the grounds that he had been intoxicated and that he was a "savage" who could not understand the value that whites placed on human life. The appeals did not hold and Uhazy's death sentence was not overturned.

Newspaper accounts and history books note that his execution was a public spectacle in front of an inebriated, unruly crowd. Liquor was openly passed through the crowd, and Uhazy's last moments were disturbed by yells and cries of "Crucify him!". "Remarks too heartless and depraved...were freely bandied by persons...carrying with them the instincts of brutes and the passions of ruffians. A half-drunken father could be seen holding in his arms a child, eager to see well; giddy, senseless girls and women chattered gaily with their attendants, and old women were seen vieing [sic] with drunken ruffians for a place near the gallows.

A reporter for the Daily Minnesotan wrote in his account, "Total Depravity was out early. In fact, Total Depravity appeared not to have gone to bed at all," as the evening before, firearms had been discharged near Uhazy's jail throughout the night.

For many years, public, daytime hangings of capital offenders took place during Minnesota's territorial days and early years of statehood. Recognizing that crowds attended executions primarily for their entertainment value, and that alcohol consumption and its consequences of acts of violence, the Minnesota legislature finally passed the John Day Smith law in 1889. Often called the "Midnight Assasination Law," it required that prisoners facing a death sentence be executed in private at nighttime.


Sources:

Anderson, Michael. "Minnesota's John Day Smith Law and the Death Penalty Debate," Minnesota History Magazine, Summer 2002, p. 84.

Bakken, Gordon Morris. Invitation to an Execution: A History of the Death Penalty in the United States.

Minnesota Democrat, St. Paul, Jan. 3, 1865.

Minnesota Weekly Times, Dec. 29, 1854.


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  • Created by: Cindy K. Coffin
  • Added: 24 Feb 2013
  • Find A Grave Memorial 105731698
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for U-ha-zy Uhazy (unknown–29 Dec 1854), Find A Grave Memorial no. 105731698, ; Maintained by Cindy K. Coffin (contributor 47084179) Unknown, who reports a Disposition of body is unknown.